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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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we would like it to be, but as it really is in 1944. Who is going to settle the
western frontiers of Russia ? Who is going to decide how much of Finland
Russia will take; how much of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; how much
of Poland ; how much of Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia and Rumania ? At
any rate let us distinguish between those countries; let us remember those
which fought with us and those which fought against us. I have every
sympathy with those Polish statesmen who would not sign that agreement.
It might have been very much better for this country if many of our states-
men had not signed these various agreements ... If I were one of those
Polish statesmen, I would refuse to sign that agreement unless the United
States of America, this country and the British Dominions signed at the
same time.
" We signed a pact to protect Czecho-Slovakia—that was when the late
Mr. Neville Chamberlain went to Munich—and Hitler broke it in March,
1939, when he marched into Prague. It is no use our signing anything
which we cannot guarantee. We signed a pact to defend Poland. Have
we done so ? Goodness knows how many millions of Poles have died since
we signed that pact, and we should be so advised not to sign any more
pacts unless we are sure we can carry them out. But if the United States
of America sign also it is a very different matter. The hon. Member for
South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) spoke about ghosts. I think the ghost of
Woodrow Wilson may be abroad just now. He signed a pact in the Treaty
of Versailles, and when he went home to America the Americans rolled him
in the gutter. It seems that we need more than the Prime Minister or the
President of the United States to sign a pact, and I would say to the Poles,
* Be very careful if there is to be a pact that the pact will be kept.'
" What about our Dominions ? I never heard that there was any great
enthusiasm on their part to come in with us at the time of Munich, but they
did come in with us most wholeheartedly and gallantly when the Germans
marched into Poland ... If these various countries do come in and sign on
the dotted line to guarantee the frontiers of Poland they would be very well
advised to agree to this : I would not mind seeing those people transferred
if we were sure that once they had been transferred they would be protected
from the hatred of Germany and others who may perhaps be jealous of them.
Mr. Petherick (Conservative) : " . . . When I listened to the Prime
Minister to-day, I could not help noticing the feeling of the House^ as one
so often can. Instead of, as we have so often seen recently, cheers and
counter cheers for or against the Prime Minister's policy, we heard, all the
way through his speech, hardly a cheer and a sort of awful ugly, apprehenisve
cold, silence. That was significant, and the speeches that have followed
have justified the idea which one had of the way in which this House and
the country are feeling in this matter. I am sure that the speeches of my
hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes)*
the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) and the hon.
Member for Keighley (Mr. Ivor Thomas) and, last, but not least, of the
hon. Lady the Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss
Rathbone), I believe represented the real voice of Britain.
** Let us consider the situation. My hon. Friend the Member for South-
East Essex asked what would have been thought in 1940, supposing we had
been told in this House what was going to happen. I will take it back another
year. Suppose the late Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, announc-
ing the British declaration of war on behalf of His Majesty's Government
on 3rd September, 1939, had said, finishing his speech : " In five years* time>
this Poland, which we have come into the war to defend, will be severed, and
half will be offered to another Power." It is a horrifying thought, that one